Christmas is the time when the whole family gets together … and argues.
That’s an old joke that will resonate with many people as we approach the holidays. How could it be otherwise? You are seeing relatives whom you haven’t seen all year. Perhaps you spoke to them on the phone or emailed them but you haven’t actually sat down in the same room together. And the phone and email can be an impersonal form of communication – perhaps more about fact-finding and exchanging pleasantries. But in a way it’s easier to have a good relationship with them over the phone than face to face.
One big unhappy family?
It’s only when you actually see them that the tensions start rising again. For example, you suddenly realize that everything about your brother’s manner and appearance annoys you. He has a habit of rubbing your nose in the fact that he has a better job than you and earns considerably more. He is too ostentatious about his wealth and you resent it bitterly –especially as it’s been yet another tight year financially for you. Not that you’ll ever go hungry or anything but you have to be careful about what you spend.
You get along OK with Mom but she has never really approved of your wife. Again, there’s a bit of socio-economic tensions. Circumstances mean that your wife works in Walmart. You resented it bitterly when your mom asked her – “Did you always want to be a shop assistant?” You’re still trying to work out if it was vindictive or just one of her infamous slip-ups. Probably the latter but it still rankles.
Your very practical brother-in-law
Also, you just realized that your brother-in-law will be there. You and he always clash about politics. You’re a liberal and he’s a conservative. What annoys you is that he’s so damn practical. If anything needs doing round the house, he’s just a dab hand with any tools or any piece of machinery. If your car needs a tweak he’ll be under the bonnet as fast as you can say “Michael Moore” – you two always end up arguing about him. And when he drinks…he always reminds you that you’re an airy fairy dreamer and a hopeless idealist. You know what really hurts? In your heart of hearts, you know he’s right!
Hey, they’re your family…
And then there’s your dad. It’s no secret that his recent stroke has made him a bit funny in the head. You’re a bit wary of him making comments on racial lines because your wife is of Indian background. And … hey, wait a minute, take a deep breath and calm down! This is supposed to be an enjoyable occasion!! So don’t anticipate disaster. And don’t forget that your sister will be there. You always got on with her just swell, as they say.
So how will you get there? The distance between Indianapolis and New Jersey is just too great. You’ll certainly not going to drive all the way there. On the other hand, you will need a car once you get to New York. That’s vital, if only because you’ll be staying there for a whole week and you’ll need a car to get you and your wife away from other family members when they get on your nerves.
You will need a site that can do everything for you – book your flight and secure you the best car rental rates.
So stop worrying about whether you’ll have a row with your family. You probably will but…hey…enjoy the tension! You’ll have a whole year in which to recover.